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World Cup performances will determine the price United pay for top transfer target

A successful summer transfer window in which Manchester United spent over £200 million to secure the permanent signings of five players meant new manager Erik ten Hag managed to plug quite a few gaping holes in the squad.

With the defence and midfield sorted for the time being, the next big puzzle to solve is up front. The club’s initial plan was to wait until the summer of 2023 before finding an elite goal-scorer.

But with United’s current options misfiring or injured and with the sensational departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, the Old Trafford outfit will be forced to prepone their plans.

United’s striker hunt

And as with any transfer United aim to complete, they have been linked with almost every player under the Sun.

If the deal does need to be completed in January, it will be for a price United are comfortable with considering their summer outlay.

As of now, the most prominent names to be linked with a move to the Theatre of Dreams include Dutch stars Cody Gakpo, Memphis Depay and Portugal star Joao Felix.

Interestingly, Atletico Madrid are reluctantly resigned to the fact that their jewel in the crown will eventually part ways after his reduced role this season and due to the differences that have cropped up between player and manager Diego Simeone.

“It will speed up in a few weeks,” Félix ‘s entourage have hinted to Marca, referring to the completion of the World Cup when both player and club will sit down to chalk out the future course of action.

Having been knocked out the Champions League has meant the Rojiblancos have taken a financial hit and the club will only sell if the price is right.

And the World Cup could come to the Madrid giants’ rescue if the Portugal international was to have a splendid personal campaign.

Atletico banking on Felix WC displays

“It is not the same to have a great role as to go unnoticed when it comes to selling,” sources close to the development have hinted to the publication.

So far, the 23-year-old has had a mixed time in Qatar. He scored a fine goal in Portugal’s opening victory against Ghana before enduring a poor outing against Uruguay. He was rested for the final group game.

The report further points out how clubs gain heavily from their player performing miracles on the biggest stage.

And Atletico are hoping for a James Rodriguez-kind of display from their star so that the asking price can go up significantly.

It must be remembered that the former Benfica star moved to the Wanda Metropolitano for a mammoth £113million back in 2019 and despite encouraging performances, the player has ultimately failed to live up to his huge price-tag.

So far, the La Liga giants have insisted on selling the player for not less than €100million, with Transfermarkt showing the actual price is €50million.

The Red Devils are unlikely to match that price in January and by then Felix’s stock could fall even further. It will be interesting to see how this saga pans out in the end.

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